• August 22, 2014
  • 146

The Centre of Tolerance: revitalization projects of a complex of monuments in Ponary

16 projects were submitted to the competition of revitalization of a complex of monuments in the Ponary forest that was announced through the Association of Architects in Lithuania and Vilnius Public Jewish Museum named after Gaon. Since the 25th of August everyone can familiarize yourself with them in the Centre of Tolerance near the Naugarduko 10/2 street in Vilnius.

During the World War II, the forest in Ponary near Vilnius was a place of mass murders committed by SS divisions, German police and Lithuanian police in collaboration with Germans. Germans, supported by Lithuanian voluntary units, murdered in Ponary around 100 thousand of people, including 60-70 thousand of Jews and 20 thousand of Poles – Vilnius intelligence, soldiers of AK as well as Romans, Russians and Lithuanians. Victims were imported in trains or trucks (sometimes it was so called foot transport), they were shot and buried in large holes.

The place of extermination of Vilnius Jews is commemorated by the  memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, built by Jewish community. In the Ponarski forest there are also a cross and a table commemorating martyrdom of Poles, put by the Polish society.

Ponary forest is often visited place, unfortunately, in the area of complex of monuments, there is lack of proper infrastructure: boards with information, indicators, the area is feebly lighted. Thus, the idea of the revitalization of the complex of monuments emerged in Ponary.

16 projects that entered the competition would be evaluated by the committee of experts. The Association of Architects in Lithuania and Vilnius Public Jewish Museum named after Gaon expect that the discussion concerning appearance of the complex will be enhanced by the contribution of inhabitants of Vilnius and social organizations. Since Monday, 25th of August, projects taking part in the competition will be displayed in the Centre of Tolerance.

Translated by Edyta Zarzeczna within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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